Interpreters and Translators

5.4/10 job score
AUTOMATION RISK
49%
risk level
POLLING
GROWTH
23.7%
by 2030
WAGES
$52,330
or $25.16 hourly
VOLUME
56,920
as of 2020

What is the risk of automation?

We calculate this occupation to have an automation risk score of 49% (Start worrying)

[More info]
Qualities required for this occupation:
Social Perceptiveness
Assisting and Caring for Others
Originality
Key
very important
quite important
[Show all metrics]

What do you think the risk of automation is?

How likely do you think this occupation will be taken over by robots/AI within the next 20 years?

How quickly is this occupation growing?

The number of 'Interpreters and Translators' job openings is expected to rise 23.7% by 2030
'Interpreters and Translators' is expected to be a very fast growing occupation in comparison to other occupations.
* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics for the period between 2020 and 2030.
Updated projections are due Sep 2022.

What are the median wages for 'Interpreters and Translators' in the United States?

In 2020 the median annual wage for 'Interpreters and Translators' was $52,330, or $25.16 hourly
'Interpreters and Translators' are paid 24.7% higher than the national median wage, which stands at $41,950
* Data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics

How many people are employed in this occupation?

As of 2020 there were 56,920 people employed as Interpreters and Translators.
This represents around 0.04% of the employed workforce across the United States.

Job description

Interpret oral or sign language, or translate written text from one language into another.

SOC Code: 27-3091.00

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Comments

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nina says
very unlikely. automated translation will never be more than a tool for human translators. critical thinking, nuance, emotion, etc, these are key in speech and ai won't be able to mimic at least not for a long time.
Oct 28, 2020 at 03:16 PM
Evgeny (Likely) says
AI has been advancing rapidly in the translation industry and is already producing staggering results. As a translator, I actually take advantage of that, since AI helps me be more efficient and productive, i.e. it actually helps me make more money. Thus, I conclude that within foreseeable future the role of a translator will be largely reduced to that of an editor / proof-reader. This, however, should drive down the translators' wages significantly. Technically, we won't even be 'translators' anymore. I see this happening within one generation.
Oct 27, 2020 at 02:08 AM
IDK MAN says
Just thought I'd mention Interpreters translate spoken language or ASL. Translators translate written language. THEY ARE DIFFERENT.
Oct 23, 2020 at 06:11 PM
Ali (Highly likely) says
Google Translate is becoming better and better at translating texts everyday ,its only a matter of time before it could translate literature and common speech in real-time
Oct 17, 2020 at 07:05 PM
Philly (Highly likely) says
Just look at the DeepL translator. Some day this professional will be made completely obsolete, and it won't even be that long from now.
Oct 08, 2020 at 10:33 PM
Samuel says
I am honestly surprised this is not at 99% since if one day we can have a machine that can automatically translate languages its gonna be used heavily.
Sep 04, 2020 at 07:40 PM
AnDrew (Likely) says
Google Translate, though by far not perfect yet could be a rising thing if computers can learn how to carry meaning.
Aug 17, 2020 at 04:21 PM
I brown-nose white men says
29% job growth by 2024, and a $52k average pay, same as accountants. Not bad for a job about copying and pasting from Google Translate.

Because we all know how great GT is, especially when it comes to context, emotions, hidden meanings and references.

I totally don't ROTFL when I see subtitles and websites translated by GT because the company didn't want to pay a professional translator.

I totally haven't made a killing from websites begging me to redo the steaming mess that is their Arabic website.

Sorry, not a chance in hell.
Aug 01, 2020 at 01:11 PM
Steph says
I am sure that most translators won't be replaced in the next 20 years. Some translators have already been replaced by AI in some fields, in some type of texts and in some language combinations. When humanity is able to develop and massively produce sentient AI able to express and convey all nuances of all 7000 different languages and cultures on Earth, AI that all humans can trust, afford, and depend on, then I think it will be time when the last human translator on Earth will likely be replaced.
Jun 17, 2020 at 10:15 PM
atheer (Could go either way) says
maybe could be replaced by the robots if the smart people made a perfect program for that or they wouldn't care about this field, no one knows
Jun 06, 2020 at 02:12 PM
Sarah Ramadan (Small chance) says
There is a small chance because machines are not accurate as humans are. Machines or robots will never understand emotions and feelings of humans. They can't get the main point of a conversation, for instance.
Apr 03, 2020 at 08:25 AM
anonym (Could go either way) says
Well, the answers may vary. It may be, but it also may be not. If somehow machine could capture the culture knowledge and the knowledge on how to perform the feelings, hidden meaning and symbolic from one's language, it can be dangerous thought.
Mar 20, 2020 at 08:04 PM
Khang (No chance) says
I don't think robots and AI can replicate every aspect of the language, and there are multiple languages existing in the world.
Feb 27, 2020 at 07:19 AM
NEO says
We now have the technology where we could insert chips inside our brains. It will combine superintelligence with our emotions so that AI could understand human "nuances" and so forth.
Jan 23, 2020 at 05:40 PM
IDK (No chance) says
This can only work if people are WILLING to do that, which I doubt most people are, as it is intensely intrusive
Oct 23, 2020 at 06:03 PM
Gabriela (Highly likely) says
A well-trained neural network can be 75-90% accurate for most texts. That's the biggest difference between translating and interpreting, which is why it's inaccurate to lump them together. A modern translator's job is simply to proofread the machine's output, which makes you x3 times faster and paid 1/4 of what the rates used to be.
Jan 23, 2020 at 01:32 PM
Nicolas (Highly likely) says
Google translate
Dec 01, 2019 at 02:42 PM
I brown-nose white men says
38% sounds right.

Unless we're talking about texts that are void of any emotion or context (terms of service, etc.), translation is for the most part creative rewriting. It actually requires intelligence, intuition, deep thinking, and heavy research, qualities that robots will never have.

I've seen movies, ads and websites translated to Arabic via Google Translate (probably to cut labour costs?), and they always have me ROTFL.

There's a reason why there's a huge projected job growth for translators and interpreters even in one of the most technologically advanced countries in the world (United States).

I'm sorry but as long as people are speaking different languages, the world will always need us.

And hey, I can always be replaced by robots and move to teaching English (1% likely to be automated).
Jul 29, 2020 at 10:50 AM
GianZ says
The majority of translation tasks deal with "neutral" texts (manuals, websites, UIs, packaging etc.), where emotions, ambiguity and other subtleties play nearly no role. THOSE documents can be automatically translated without much effort. In those cases, translators maybe won't disappear, but they will be reduced in number and will mainly work as revisers. Have a try with DeepL and see if and how it can translate a sample from a manual o website).
Nov 17, 2019 at 04:55 PM
omer (No chance) says
No wayyyy. I mean think about the way you quickly understand another human's voice in an another language or his/her written stuff. Human feelings cannot be replaced by those high tech products/softwares. The only thing that they can do is, making our job easier for us -the translators & interpretators-
You can't beat human brain, you just help it unwillingly and unwittingly, as a robot...
Sep 01, 2019 at 02:55 PM
Me (Highly likely) says
It will happen in a very near future and there's no doubt for that. Maybe in some very important situations, like life saving operation, we will need translators a bit longer to avoid robot's mistakes but some day translators will be useless even in that picture.
Aug 09, 2019 at 11:34 AM
Tatiana (Small chance) says
Because this is a profession that does not rely solely on automation or direct interpretation.
Aug 08, 2019 at 01:34 AM
RB (Likely) says
It will replace the most jobs in 20 years to the point where most translators and interpreters go extinct, but it will take much more time replacing some of the... um... abstract areas, like literature, i think.
Jul 25, 2019 at 08:51 AM
Steve says
I think the number of professional translators will drop in future, as some work will be taken over by machines. However, there will always be areas where companies/banks/hospitals will not and cannot rely on a machine, as the text/content is too critical to risk any mistakes. This will be where the human translator will always be preferred. What's more, proofreading jobs should remain secure, as companies who do use machine translation will probably still want it checking by a human to be certain the context/subtleties have been interpreted correctly. So imho, no fear of the profession compelely disapearing any time soon.
Jul 22, 2019 at 01:07 PM
Ada (Small chance) says
Small chance. Have you ever tried the likes of gurgle translate or Babelfish? They are garbage at understaning nuances, context, subleties. I work as a translator and I don't fear a thing.


Jul 19, 2019 at 06:11 PM
So Min says
So yeah.... even I want to become a translator, but my friend was like is it the right option considering the advancement in technology and stuff. I was curious enough, I guess you’re right.
Translation or not words and feelings can only be expressed by a human being and not a robot or AI.
Feb 20, 2020 at 06:20 PM
Tomas (Likely) says
Maybe not right now, but it the future, digital translators will become better and better, till the point they replace humans
Jul 13, 2019 at 05:31 PM
Lakkir (Highly likely) says
Neuronal networks are already at the level of an interpreter as making translations, same error rate, they will be replaced soon
Jul 07, 2019 at 11:46 PM
Sarah (Highly likely) says
With the use of translation apps, translators are extremely likely to be laid off
Jun 25, 2019 at 10:15 PM
AC (Highly likely) says
Obviously artificial intelligence will be able to accurately translate in real time, reproduce/adapt voices and intonations... In my opinion it's one of the most threatened jobs
Jun 06, 2019 at 03:57 PM
Lucas Custodio (Highly likely) says
Today is effortless to make electronic tools with real-time translation in several languages, in a close future, human translators will be senseless.
Jun 01, 2019 at 12:02 PM
Lee Springer says
If you've noticed, public schools no longer teach children cursive (USA, IL) and typing as a form of writing/communication is slowly becoming the norm.

I predict that once communication via technology (emjoi, sms, email, mms) becomes preferable by humanity standards; then robots/technology will have the ability to translate between languages as written context will have a finer structure.

Currently, human interaction and cultural phrasing is developed at the human to human interaction. Remove the human to human interaction and then we're "dependent" on the translating robot to decipher our communication.

I predict that the high majority of translations will be completed over technology in the near future.
May 29, 2019 at 06:14 PM
Hugrún says
I'm a student of applied translation and we discuss this topic a lot in class. This sector has been predicted to be automated for some 30 years and yet we still need humans for it. The more I study the more I am convinced that us translators are going to be fine. It will take machines ages to match the nuances that humans notice.
May 22, 2019 at 04:18 PM
Caio (Highly likely) says
We already have Google translator lol
May 13, 2019 at 12:27 AM
Jane (Could go either way) says
But it still sucks lol
May 23, 2019 at 09:28 PM
Anna (Small chance) says
I'm studying to be a translator/interpreter and I honestly can't see how robots could understand some complex contexts.
May 01, 2019 at 05:16 PM
Lee Springer says
Since you're using a computer comment. You've removed all emotional context that comes when translating in real-time [Human-to-Human].
As humanity progresses to communicate via computer portal we'll naturally conform to a unified and popular lingos, shorthand and digital pragmatics.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Want to stop the robots from learning?
- Turn off Voice to Text on Voice Mail
- Stop using captions
- Don't use Siri, Alexa, and Google Home
- Don't use FaceTime, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger.
- Built in speech to text on your phone, tablet or computer

If you have to utilize any of the following you're assisting the robots.

Google Meet currently allows you to turn on real-time captions when communicating over their services. It's only a matter of time when the "caption button' turns into a 'translate' button allowing me to communicate 'face-to-face' with someone who does not speak english.
May 29, 2019 at 06:57 PM
Lily (Could go either way) says
I don't even understand what's your point.
Jul 11, 2019 at 04:26 PM
Andrea (Small chance) says
Despite the odds, I know for fact that interpreting and translation rely on context, human context and pragmatics.
Apr 20, 2019 at 07:26 PM
Marie (Small chance) says
Translations within a corporation might be replaced by robots/AI (as it is already now, to a certain extent) but critical topics and situations will always require a human being for translation/interpreting. Too much is at stake and AI's aren't even close to grasp every crucial subtlety of the language (whether it be oral or signed)
Apr 04, 2019 at 03:25 PM
Caroline Elias (Small chance) says
Cause I'm working in this field ... so I'm aware of possible misunderstandings. Languages are so "fluid", emotional, corporal language related ... depending on contexts, different cultural backgrounds and habits...
Apr 04, 2019 at 01:54 PM

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