How to Become an Interpreter

Interpreters are professionals that make a living off of communicating.

Communication has become an extremely important skill to have no matter what part of the world you live in.

As globalization becomes the new normal and the world becomes more interconnected, the demand for interpreters and translators will reflect this change.

Individuals who want to become an Interpreter will need to focus on becoming bilingual.

Individuals may have also have grown up fully bilingual knowing two languages and work on attaining the proper certification in order to gain better job prospects.

Education Requirements to Become an Interpreter

There is no specific way to become an Interpreter although seeking certification or a bachelor’s degree will help with the job prospects.

In addition, those who want to become an Interpreter should also be fluent in English as well as a second or third language.

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Some Interpreters may also be fluent in sign language to enter this profession.

For those who choose to complete a bachelor’s degree, there are plenty of avenues to choose from.

If an individual does not already know a second language, they can opt to major in a foreign language, such as Spanish, Chinese or Russian.

For individuals who are already bilingual when beginning their college career, specializing in a non-language background is encouraged.

For example, a bilingual individual who majors in finance, business or medicine will have many more opportunities as they will be specialized in a technical field and be able to communicate with many more non-English speaking individuals.

Furthermore, individuals can also pursue a master’s degree to work in more technical fields such as finance, software or engineering.

No matter the level of education chosen, individuals should also focus their studies on English and comprehension and writing to prepare them for the interpretation field.

Although there is no specific test or certification an aspiring Interpreter can take, acquiring one will show potential employers that an individual is proficient and fully capable of interpreting important information.

Individuals may visit American Translators Association to learn about a certification program for 26 languages that involve English.

Interpreter Job Description

The big difference between an Interpreter and a Translator is the medium used to communicate.

Translators use the written word to convert while interpreters work in the spoken or sign language.

The one commonality in the two professions is for a professional to be able to speak, read and write at least two languages.

An Interpreter’s main job duty is to convert, or translate, one form of communication to another.

Because of context, Interpreters must also be sure to align concepts in the original language into the target language.

This can be extremely important for Interpreters working in technical fields such as the federal government or the medical field.

Interpreters must be able to work well under pressure depending on whether the job they are working on requires is Simultaneous.

A Simultaneous translation requires an Interpreter to fully grasp the concept and context of the original language and translate it while the speaker is engaged in conversation or speech.

The second mode of interpretation is Consecutive in which an Interpreter waits for the speaker to finish speaking and then translates the information.

Interpreters using this form sometimes have the ability to write notes while the speaker is engaged in conversation.

The final mode of interpretation is Whispered in which an Interpreter sits very close to a listener and converts into the target language simultaneously.

Interpreter Salary and Career Path

Interpreter jobs are expected to grow by 46 percent through the year 2022.

This rate is considered fast and higher than average and is caused by the globalization the world has experienced in recent decades.

This increase will also be caused by the influx of non-English speaking individuals residing in the United States.

Individuals with experience speaking several languages or highly a highly demanded language will have the most opportunities.

In 2012, the median annual salary for Interpreters was approximately $45,430.

However, the exact wage will heavily depend on the industry interpreting professionals will work in.

Interpreters working in the health care and social assistance sector make the lowest wages in this profession earning a median annual salary of $40,130 while professionals working in the professional, scientific and technical services can expect an income of $54,110 per year.

Whichever sector an aspiring Interpreter chooses to work in, professionals entering this field should expect plenty of opportunities for employment.

The increase in globalization combined with the growth of non-English speaking residents in the U.S.

can be attributed to this fast growing profession.

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