How Much You Can Make as a Court Interpreter

With our communities getting increasingly diverse, there is an increase in the demand for court interpreters. They play a significant role in translating speech from one language to the other during court proceedings. Many court interpreters have made a fortune through this career.

Court interpreters working in the legal system may operate on a freelance basis, part-time or full time based on the signed contract. The most translated language in courts is Spanish to English. The average pay varies with the geographic location, qualifications, market conditions, and type of court. Certified interpreters, in most cases, earn more as compared to the uncertified interpreters.


Being a court interpreter is a lot of responsibility. Your grasp of both languages involved in translation is crucial. It is your job to ensure that members of the court are able to understand the translated message exactly as it was intended.

Court interpreter
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Average Pay

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, court interpreters earn approximately $47,190 as a median salary in different industries. The pay varies with the employer and the contract agreements. Interpreters working in local government courts earn an average of $48,670 per year.

Federal Contract Interpreters

In the United States, the average pay varies with the federal court system. Certified and professional court translators working on a contract basis can earn $226 in one day. They also make money during overtime hours, earning approximately $59 for every extra hour spent. Other court interpreters with language skills that are not certified make $202 in a day. They also earn $35 per hour after working overtime.


Staff Interpreters

Staff Interpreters are common in federal and state courts. They often work full-time when there are many court proceedings in need of translating. Staff court interpreters’ jobs are scarce; therefore, in this case, it’s best to work as an independent contractor. Federal and state interpreters earn up to $80,000 as annual average pay when they are on staff.

The pay varies with experience and knowledge. Interpreters with less than five years of experience make a lower pay of $40,000. Those with more than a decade of experience earn an average wage of $43, 000 per year, while the court interpreters with more than ten years of experience make approximately $50,000 as an average salary.

Pay Differences in Various States

A court interpreter’s pay is greatly influenced by the region they work in. In California, for instance, court interpreters working full time earn an average salary between $70, 000 and $80,000.


In New York, the average pay ranges between $54,000 and $75,000. In Wisconsin, the annual average salary of a court interpreter is between $25,000 and $50,000, while in Florida, the least paid court interpreter still earns $43,331. Much of these wage discrepancies can be attributed to the particular cost of living in that area. 

How Much You Can Make as a Court Interpreter 1
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Court Interpreting Job Overview

According to the Bureau of Statistics, there is an expected 18% increase in interpreting jobs. The requirements to be a court interpreter include having an expansive vocabulary in at least two languages. A bachelor’s degree in a foreign language, sign language, or any other related field is also an essential requirement. Network with other organizations in need of interpreters to diversify your job prospects and make more money.