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Dear fellow interpreters,

I am currently writing a bachelor's thesis for which I am looking for existing statistics on the average conference interpreter's work days, working hours, salary, travel days as well as how much demand for conference interpreters there is at the moment.

The subject of my thesis is students' expectations for the profession of conference interpreting. Basically, I'm asking students to complete questionnaires in which they will state their expectations for the job, and then I will compare the results to existing data, in order to see how realistic students' expectations really are. This existing data is what I am looking for now.

For the purpose of my thesis, it would be great to know the following: How much money do conference interpreters make in the early years of their career? How much money do they make after having gained more experience? How much does the average conference interpreter travel for their job? How many days a year does the average CI work? How many hours a day does the average CI work? Which field shows the highest demand for conference interpreting? Any other statistics on working conditions would also help.

I think the results of my thesis could be very interesting to both universities but also customers looking to hire conference interpreters, perhaps also for interpreter agencies. Any help, links, graphs, or any statistics on this is greatly appreciated!!!

Thank you so much for your help in advance! Looking forward to reading from you! All the best, Anna

asked 16 Jan '17, 10:44

Anna%20Natlacen's gravatar image

Anna Natlacen

Hi Anna,

comparing expectations and the real deal would also entail finding out how many of the prospective colleagues, who have graduated, actually do become conference interpreters, i.e. manage to sustain their lifestyle by interpreting.

When comparing expectations to real life... If 100 students want to earn 4.000€ a month, and one of them actually makes it, you won't be telling the story of the 99 who didn't make it that far.

I think that gap is way more relevant, yet often forgotten.

Interpreting is binary. Those who make it, usually earn a decent income. Either you make it, or you go bankrupt within roughly 24 months. The latter represents the majority.

(16 Jan '17, 16:08) Gaspar ♦♦

The AIIC members-only website has over 4700 charts on work days, rates and other issues (but not working hours or travel days) covering 2012, 2013 and 2015.

It's only available to members though.

permanent link

answered 16 Jan '17, 10:57

Vincent%20Buck's gravatar image

Vincent Buck

Thanks for the quick reply! I'm not a member of the AIIC, does anybody know of any information that's available to outsiders?

(16 Jan '17, 11:35) Anna Natlacen

The summary of the 2012 report is available online: AIIC Statistics 2012

But maybe if you write to the AIIC Statistics group ( and ask for the report of a specific country, they might be able to help you.

By the way, you will probably have to narrow your research down to a specific country or region, and make the distinction between staff and freelance interpreters as data can highly vary from one market to another.

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answered 16 Jan '17, 11:48

Camille%20Collard's gravatar image

Camille Collard

Hi Anna,

The president of AIIC tweeted a general table of the number of workdays by region for freelance and staff interpreters averaged over 2012-2015 about a day ago, under @AngelaKeil, if that helps.

As to your specific questions, it is like asking how long is a piece of string? Each individual interpreter has their own path, and much depends on where they are based, what their languages are, what the world is like, what non-interpreting skills you have...

For example, I started interpreting at a time after the one country of the USSR turned into 15 separate countries, many of which spoke Russian. I was based in DC, and suddenly there was an enormous amount of work. Moreover, the US Dept of State liked my organizational skills, so they put me on back-to-back assignments. If someone were starting a year or so ago with the same language combination, they would have seen much less work, and might have thought about taking on translation as well as interpreting.

So as Camille said, you may need to focus your work, maybe on staff Interpreters and in a specific language combination. So you could ask the students the question of how many expect to be staff interpreters. Then you can get information from international organizations like the UN, NATO, or the EU, on what the salaries are (they are international civil servants, so salaries are public), and you might also be able to find out how many tests the organizations held, and how many interpreters were hired (I think this information may be published for the EU, if not for the other organizations).

By the way, you may want also to look at the answers to this question.

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answered 16 Jan '17, 18:08

JuliaP's gravatar image


edited 16 Jan '17, 20:44

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question asked: 16 Jan '17, 10:44

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