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Worldwide Survey of Salary and Employment Practices for Language Industry Professionals in Translation and Localization Roles

The 2007 report on worldwide salary and employment practices summarizes the results of a survey of 694 professionals working in language-related activities such as translation and software engineering. Common Sense Advisory’s latest report, “Wages of Localization,” catalogs this comprehensive survey of salary figures for translation and localization professionals across a broad spectrum of organizations, positions, and geographic regions. The survey yielded responses from 45 countries. The results reflect salary and employee benefit data from language professionals currently employed in a full-time translation or localization role. The survey grouped the 188 unique titles listed by respondents, which ranged from Language Test Coordinator to DTP Specialist to Interpretation Project Director, into five major categories: operations executive; translator/editor; project manager; software engineer; sales; and other. The report details the highest paying positions by title, country, region, gender, and education levels in 27 graphs and three tables.

The most comprehensive salary and compensation survey for the language services industry to date, "Wages of Localization" covers:

  • Comparison of wages by individual countries. On average, U.S. and Canadian employees are paid more than language professionals in Europe and in other regions of the world. The report calculated the average salary in each country surveyed to see how each country’s average income in each of the five major groups compare to the rest of the world.
  • Where the most highly educated workers in the industry reside and how education impacts wages and organizational status. Higher education is a hallmark of the language business. Buyers, suppliers, and practitioners in language-related activities need an understanding of language, culture, business, and technology. It comes as no surprise that language professionals tend to be highly educated.
  • Benefits by country. In addition to their salary, most employees receive health, transportation, and other benefits. U.S. and Canadian employees are least likely to receive meal or transportation allowances, whereas Asian companies are more apt to provide such allowances.
  • Correlation between size of company and wages. In all geographies, salary increases linearly with the number of people working for a firm. In fact, 25 percent of all income variability in the language services industry can be explained by the size of the company paying the salary.

According to the lead analyst for the report, Renato Beninatto: “The impressive amount and depth of data collected allowed us to make many interesting correlations. For example, we can affirm that that Argentina, Hungary, and China have the lowest wages for Project Managers, and that Denmark is the best place for translators. We know that the data still harbors more interesting correlations. We will include more insight about this data set in reports, presentations, and articles in the coming months.”

The published results are available to members of Common Sense Advisory’s research.

Submitted On: 1/13/2011

Common Sense Advisory research and analysts are frequently cited in the New York Times, International Herald Tribune, Wall Street Journal, Boston Globe, Fortune Magazine, Inc Magazine, and BusinessWeek.
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